05-21-2018  7:45 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the case of LGBTQ discrimination at an Oregon high school.6:30 p.m.:The principal of an Oregon high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil...

Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated jumi million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says...

Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...

Border agent questions 2 women for speaking Spanish

HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are reviewing an encounter between a Border Patrol agent and two women who were speaking Spanish at a gas station in northern Montana, the agency said Monday.Allegations have been made before of law-enforcement officers in...

ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama

NEW YORK (AP) — Barack and Michelle Obama are getting into the television business with Monday's announcement that they had signed a multi-year deal with Netflix.The former president and first lady have formed their own production company, Higher Ground Productions, for the material. In...

Artist Robert Indiana, known for 'LOVE' series, dies at 89

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s "LOVE" series, has died at his island home off the coast of Maine. He was 89.Indiana died on Saturday from respiratory failure at his Victorian home in a converted Odd Fellows hall, a fraternal order lodge, where he...

Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Miss Nebraska has been named Miss USA.Sarah Rose Summers beat out 50 other women from all the states and the District of Columbia.At the start of the two-hour broadcast, the field was immediately narrowed down to 15 contestants according to how they performed during...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

What is lava haze? A look at Hawaii's latest volcanic hazard

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is pouring into the sea and setting off a chemical...

Syrian government declares capital fully under its control

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's military on Monday captured an enclave in southern Damascus from Islamic State...

Divided Supreme Court sides with businesses over workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A judge ruled Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, that Roof is competent to stand trial for the killing of nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
MEG KINNARD and JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a church was allowed Monday to act as his own attorney, opening the door to courtroom spectacles at his death penalty trial, including Dylann Roof questioning survivors of the attack and relatives of the dead.

Roof's decision to represent himself comes months after he offered to plead guilty in exchange for the promise of life in prison. But federal prosecutors have refused to take the death penalty off the table in the slayings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Until now, Roof has been represented by one of the nation's most respected capital defenders.

He joins a long line of high-profile defendants who acted as their own attorneys, often with poor results. Serial killer Ted Bundy, Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammed and Army Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, ended up with death sentences.

After firing their lawyers, Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson was sentenced to 200 years in prison, and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was sent away for life.

Defendants who act as their own lawyers generally want to bring attention to their causes and publicize their actions. That almost always runs counter to the advice of lawyers, who urge them not to incriminate themselves.

"They think they have a message and that's unfortunately what leads to these crimes in the first place," said New York attorney Tiffany Frigenti, author of an article called "Flying Solo Without a License: The Right of Pro Se Defendants to Crash and Burn" for her law school journal.

Pro se representation can also lead to uncomfortable courtroom encounters between defendants and their victims or those victims' families if they are questioned by the very person who is accused of shattering their lives.

"It can seem beneficial. Nobody believes in your cause and case more than you," Frigenti said. "But it only works that way in very rare cases — usually appeals."

With Roof acting in his own defense, there is plentiful opportunity for explosive or awkward courtroom moments. Just hours after his arrest, some of the victims' relatives attended Roof's initial court appearance and said they forgave him and would pray for him. If he continues as his own lawyer, Roof could end up questioning those same family members in court.

In approving Roof's request to act as his own lawyer, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also appointed his defense team to stay on as standby counsel, available for advice and assistance throughout the trial. That team includes celebrated death penalty attorney David Bruck, who slid down one seat and let Roof take the lead chair after the judge's order Monday.

Known as a hard-charging lawyer with deep opposition to the death penalty, Bruck's record is mixed. He kept Susan Smith off South Carolina's death row for sending her car into a lake with her two children strapped inside, but he could not keep a federal jury from sentencing Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death last year.

Roof's motion came the same day jury selection resumed in the case, a process halted Nov. 7 after lawyers for Roof questioned his ability to understand the case against him. After a hasty two-day competency hearing, Gergel last week ruled that Roof was competent to stand trial.

Roof has also been found competent in state court, where prosecutors plan a second death-penalty trial on nine counts of murder.

During the juror qualification, Roof sat at the defense table occasionally conferring with Bruck. He registered few objections to jurors, agreeing with Gergel about a man's statements that the crime being in a church made it more worrisome to him and also saying a woman's death penalty views made her a good juror. Otherwise, Roof sat in his chair, sometimes looking at papers spread out before him.

Beginning Monday, 20 potential jurors per day are reporting to the courthouse for individual questioning by the judge. When 70 qualified jurors are picked, attorneys can use strikes to dismiss those they don't want, until 12 jurors and six alternates are seated.

According to police, Roof sat through nearly an hour of prayer and Bible study at the church with its pastor and 11 others before pulling a gun from his fanny pack and firing dozens of shots.

Roof shouted racial insults at the six women and three men he is charged with killing and at the survivors, authorities said. He said he left three people unharmed so they could tell the world the shootings were because he hated black people.

___

Collins reported from Columbia.

Reach Kinnard at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP and Collins at http://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP . Read more of their work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/ and http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jeffrey-collins/ .

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